Thursday July 30, 2015

Volunteers of America’s Senior CommUnity Meals has announced hot meal delivery to homebound seniors will resume as early as Sept. 8. The meals will be delivered three times per week to clients residing in areas conducive to hot meal delivery.

Under the proposed schedule, meals will be delivered in Paonia and Hotchkiss Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning Sept. 8. Meal delivery in Cedaredge will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday beginning Sept. 16. Meal delivery to Delta area residents begins Sept. 22 and will occur Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The current homebound frozen meal delivery will continue until the end of September, so in many cases there will be a period of time in which meal recipients may receive both hot meals and frozen meals. This overlap of services is to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
Last October, the homebound meal delivery program made significant changes in order to keep the program operational. At that time, the number of meals delivered weekly was reduced and a frozen meal delivery system was implemented. These changes were necessitated by severe budget cuts, a shortage of volunteer delivery drivers, and price increases in food and transportation.
Senior CommUnity Meals director Joe Walker said, “We are relieved to report that those changes worked and have allowed our program to become more sustainable.” The new homebound hot meal delivery plan is based on the time needed to acquire adequate resources and volunteers for each area served.
The program’s ultimate success will be based on the number of volunteer drivers who can deliver a hot meal.  Walker said, “Participants in the program will have more frequent contact with someone from outside the home and this will serve as both a social and general health check,” he said. “The personal connections formed by meals drivers and the individuals they deliver to can quickly become an integral part of the homebound person’s overall well-being. Drivers are often the first and only person to notice if something is out of the ordinary in the home.”
Homebound hot meal participants will receive a phone call one week after implementation to ensure the transition has gone smoothly and to answer any questions or address concerns. The suggested donation will remain at $3 per meal and participants will continue to receive a statement of meals received.
The program presently lacks a meal site in Montrose, but is still searching for and considering options to safely and efficiently deliver hot meals to Montrose residents. “Until a sustainable solution can be arranged, we will continue delivering frozen meals in the Montrose area. These meals will meet the same nutrient requirements as all of our prepared meals and will be delivered by our staff and/or volunteers,” Walker said.
Senior CommUnity Meals is partnering with Region 10 and the Area Agency on Aging to communicate the message to homebound recipients and at community meal sites as well as aiding in recruiting volunteer drivers. They will also partner with RSVP Colorado West Inc. to secure volunteers.  Anyone with questions or wishing to volunteer is encouraged to contact the Area Agency on Aging at 249-2436 or Senior CommUnity Meals at 835-8028.

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